APRIL 13, 2010

Note from the Snail: Except for pumping up the font and a little Bolding for Emphasis, this is just as I received it.




APRIL 13, 2010

7:00 P.M.

The regular meeting of the Livingston Planning Commission was held in the City Council Chambers on Tuesday, April 13, 2010.  The meeting was called to order by Chair Blevins at 7:00 p.m.

Commissioners Present: Outgoing Chair David Blevins, new Chair Roy Soria, new Vice‑Chair Kaye Greeley, and incoming Commissioners Luis Enrique Flores, Alex Gonzalez, and Hugo Salgado.

Commissioners Absent: Alternate Commissioner Manoj Bains

Staff Present:                 Administrative Assistant Filomena Arredondo, Community Development Director Donna Kenney, and Assistant City Attorney Jeffrey Massey.

Others Present:                        Council Liaison Martha Nateras, Mayor Daniel Varela, Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, Warren Urnberg, Maria Cortes, Ronnie Newman, Steven Christenson, Kim Yancey, Judy Blevins, Theresa Land and others in the audience.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.



Motion by Commissioner Soria, seconded by Commissioner Greeley, to approve the minutes from the regular meetings of March 9, 2010. Motion carried 3-0.


Community Development Director Donna Kenney presented incoming Commissioners Luis Enrique Flores, Alex Gonzalez, and Hugo Salgado.

Incoming Commissioners took their seats behind the dais and outgoing Chair Blevins stepped down.


Planning Commissioner Soria sat in as Planning Commission Chair during the election of officers.

Commissioner Soria asked for nominations for Planning Commission Chair for the 2010 calendar year.

Commissioner Greeley moved to nominate Commissioner Soria for Planning Commission Chair. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Salgado and carried 4-0-1 by the following vote:

AYES:                 Commissioners Gonzalez, Greeley, Salgado, and Soria

NOES:                 None

ABSENT:  Alternate Commissioner Bains

ABSTAIN: Commissioner Flores

Chair Soria asked for nominations for Planning Commission Vice-Chair for the 2010 calendar year. He then moved to nominate Commissioner Greeley for Planning Commission Vice-Chair. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Gonzalez and carried 4-0-1 by the following vote:

AYES:                 Commissioners Gonzalez, Greeley, Salgado, and Soria

NOES:                 None

ABSENT:  Alternate Commissioner Bains

ABSTAIN: Commissioner Flores



Council Liaison Martha Nateras presented a recognition award to outgoing Chair/Commissioner David Blevins on behalf of the City Council and Planning Commission in appreciation for his eight years of dedicated service on the Livingston Planning Commission.


Members of the Audience

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, welcomed the new Commissioners and said she was sad to see so few people in attendance at Planning Commission meetings because that is often the first place where discussion of projects that can be controversial takes place. She stated, “It is no secret that this is a controversial time in the City of Livingston with controversial projects that could be coming down the road and controversial ballot measures that could impact the kinds of projects that will come before the Planning Commission.” She added that the Planning Commissioners have a duty and a sacred honor to do their homework on every project that comes before them and that they will not be able to make every person happy with every decision they make. She asked that they make honest decisions based on serious consideration grounded in fact. She wished them, “The wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, and the hide of a rhino,” and added that they are going to need it. She concluded with the statement, “Welcome to the world of the real!”



Applicant is requesting a Conditional Use Permit to allow an existing appointment‑only internet auto sales use completely within an industrial building to move from one building to another. Both the existing site, 433 Industrial Drive, Suite D, and the proposed site 462 Industrial Drive, Suite D (directly across the street), have a General Plan designation of Limited Industrial (LI) and zoning of Limited Industrial (M-1).

Director Kenney presented the staff report and recommended approval of the project. She explained that the applicant, Ronnie Newman, opened his business approximately two years ago and has successfully been in operation. He keeps the vehicles that he has for sale off the street. He only uses the parking lot when he has to meet a prospective buyer. They park their vehicles there temporarily while he brings out the vehicle for sale for a test drive. Mr. Newman has been in a building across the street that has sixteen (16) suites and in the time that he has been in that suite, City staff has not received any complaints from any of the neighbors. Director Kenney said this is a good use for that building. He does not impact the outdoor parking. Mr. Newman is not there much during the day, but could show up at night when there may be a need for some security, so if he is there, that is a good thing. He likes to keep about 12 vehicles inside the suite and a couple of motorcycles.

Applicant, Ronnie Newman, was present to answer questions.

Commissioners’ Comments/Questions:


No questions.


·        Asked the applicant how he handles his business transactions. He said he tried to look up his website address, but could not find it.

Mr. Newman replied that he does not have a private website for his business. Everything is done through Craigslist, eBay, and local newspapers. His business is by appointment only and it pretty much takes care of itself. He added that he uses his cell phone for both business and private calls so he can always be reached.

·        Asked Director Kenney who is the current applicant of Suite D? He drove by this location and saw people in there.

Director Kenney responded this building was vacant up to this point. Mr. Newman is one of the first tenants in the building aside from a smog shop. The owner of the building, Jesse Hernandez, is using one of the suites for his lath business and he has been showing the suites to other prospective tenants.

·        Asked for clarification of “temporary use of the property,” as noted on item #3 of the Planning Commission resolution.

Director Kenney explained that the Conditional Use Permit requires that they make the findings of fact that are listed there and one of the findings is that it is a temporary use of the property. When Mr. Newman moves out and someone else moves in, nothing physically needs to be changed.

·        Asked Director Kenney if there is a time line on when the Sultana annexation for the Auto Mall will occur. He referred to the wording on page one (1) of her staff report, which reads:

Table 3 – Land Use – Commercial Zoning indicates a Conditional Use Permit is required for Vehicle Sales in the M-1 zoning district.  Footnote “D” states that Vehicle Sales shall refer to an established Vehicle Sales (VEH) Overlay District as per Chapter 3, Section 5-3-14 of this Title.  LMC Section 5-3-14 states the purpose of the VEH is to allow for a future Auto Mall in that portion of the City, once annexed, known as the Sultana area.  As the Sultana area is not yet annexed, the VEH provisions do not yet apply.

          Director Kenney responded there are long-range plans for that area. In order for that to happen, they would first have to get that area into the City’s General Plan, which is in litigation right now. After it is in the General Plan area, then it would need to be annexed into the City and at that point the City would have control over what the uses are in that area.


No questions.


·        Asked for clarification of the business location.

Mr. Newman clarified that he is moving from one location to this new location across the street. The new location has a private office and a private restroom, so it makes it more convenient for him.


No questions.

Chair Soria opened and closed the Public Hearing at 7:21 p.m. there being no public comment.

Motion by Commissioner Flores, seconded by Vice-Chair Greeley, to adopt Resolution 2010-01, a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Approving Conditional Use Permit 2010-02 for Newman’s Internet Auto Sales (APN 047-035-008). Motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

AYES:      Chair Soria, Vice-Chair Greeley, and Commissioners Flores, Gonzalez, and Salgado

NOES:      None


Director Kenney congratulated Mr. Newman for the approval of his Conditional Use Permit (CUP) and informed him that there is a 10-day appeal period for the Planning Commission’s decision. At the end of those ten (10) days, if no appeals are filed, staff will send Mr. Newman a copy of his Conditional Use Permit.


Applicant, Open Range Communications, has applied for Site Plan/Design Review to install three (3) new panel antennas and one (1) microwave dish antenna on an existing tower located at 2370 Walnut Avenue.

Director Kenney presented the staff report. She explained this is an existing 195-foot tower located at the storage unit facility right next to the City Public Works yard on Walnut Avenue. It is shared by a series of different companies that have mostly panel, but some dish antennas on it. AT&T owns the tower and subleases antenna space to other companies.

Director Kenney pointed out a correction to the Planning Commission resolution which reads, “Approval of Site and Design Review for AT&T,” and should read “Approval of Site and Design Review for Open Range Communications.”

The project consists of the installation of three (3) new panel antennas and one (1) microwave dish antenna at the 140-foot level. When these antennas are added to the structure, no more new antennas could be added unless the structure itself is reinforced because it has reached full capacity.  There is nothing special about these panel antennas. They have coaxial cables that reach to the ground to where their equipment cabinets are. Each company that has antennas on the tower leases cabinet space on the ground, as well. They keep the whole area locked and inaccessible to children.

Director Kenney said she would encourage the applicants to keep the antennas a neutral color so they blend in with the other antennas since these are all visible from most areas of town, even though staff has never received a complaint on the visual of the antennas.

Director Kenney explained that City staff would normally approve projects consisting of swapping out antennas for slightly larger ones or making new ones of some sort, but new projects such as this one must have a site and design review. After the Planning Commission reviews this project and makes their recommendation, it will go to City Council for its approval or denial.

Director Kenney added that City staff recommends approval of this project because it improves service to the residents of Livingston.

Steven Christenson, representing Open Range Communications, was present at the meeting to answer questions.

Commissioners’ Comments/Questions:


No questions 


·        Asked if the City received any oral or written testimonies about this project.

Director Kenney replied that staff had received no comments.

·        Asked the applicant for the projected number of customers they are seeking to achieve.

Steven Christenson, Open Range Communications, 3771 Copper Penny Lane, Auburn, California, explained what they are doing. He stated that Open Range Communications was opened up by the Department of Agriculture. They consist of stimulus moneys. They are providing wireless broadband service used by schools in small communities such as Livingston. They are currently in Riverbank and Salida. He added that recently there was a huge article in the “USA Today” about the Government putting forth a new wireless broadband career, and Livingston is one of the new ones.

Commissioner Flores said he read about the background on this company and it is all true. This service is currently available in some states, reaching about six million people. The company did receive some stimulus funds under USDA. The stimulus program seems to be really, really great at targeting rural communities such as Livingston. He knows that one thing on the horizon is 4-G wireless technologies. He asked if that will be available to the their  customers in Livingston.

Mr. Christenson responded it is not to his knowledge at this time, and added that the wireless broadband that he is currently developing is three (3) panel antennas that take you to a radius of 2-3 miles. The microwave dish is so that they can receive signals from Modesto.  They don’t have to put a T-1 in. 4-G is coming in the very near future.

·        Questioned what the relationship between Open Range Communications and AT&T is.

Mr. Christenson responded that they have no relationship other than Open Range Communications is subletting from AT&T. AT&T built the tower and sublets carriers onto that tower. They also sublet ground space. He added that Open Range Communications is going to have one (1) equipment cabinet. That is all that they need while they are doing this installation. He added that, as Director Kenney stated earlier, the resolution needs to be modified. Where it says, “AT&T will apply for building permits,” it should say, “Open Range Communications will apply for building permits.” Therefore, AT&T will not meet the listed conditions; Open Range Communications will meet the listed conditions.


·        Asked Mr. Christenson how soon the services will be available if this project gets approved.

Mr. Christenson responded they still have to go before the City Council and he is not sure when that is going to happen.

Director Kenney stated they will go to City Council on May 4, 2010.

Mr. Christenson said he will be applying for a building permit the very next day if they get approved by City Council. He added that it takes approximately two weeks to come up on air, so they would have people working as early as the 1st of June.

Director Kenney mentioned that he is welcome to submit his building plans before Council approval at his own risk.

Mr. Christenson said they do not worry too much about the risk because the assumption is that the City Council is not going to oppose their project and he is willing to take that risk.


·        Welcomed Mr. Christenson from the beautiful City of Auburn, where she grew up.


No questions

Chair Soria opened and closed the Public Hearing at 7:34 p.m. there being no public comment.

Motion by Commissioner Gonzalez, seconded by Commissioner Salgado, to adopt Resolution 2010-02, a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Recommending to the City Council the Approval of Site Plan/Design Review 2010-03 for Open Range Communications, as amended. Motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

AYES:     Chair Soria, Vice-Chair Greeley, and Commissioners Flores, Gonzalez, and Salgado

NOES:     None



Planning Commission


·        Stated he is very excited and honored to be on the Planning Commission. He never thought he would be on it and many people know why that is.

·        A while back, it was mentioned that Livingston received a sidewalk grant and they said they were going to start as soon as the Department of Transportation gave them the green light. He asked Director Kenney for an update on this sidewalk grant.

Staff responded that the City has already built some sidewalks and still continues to build more.  Since that money has been spent, a new application has already been submitted.

·        Asked if conversations about a skate park have resumed. He knows it depended on a developer. He thinks a skate park would be really great because he sees a lot of young skaters in the community.

Staff responded the Mayor and City Manager sent out a Request for Proposal and received four (4) responses. Staff is working hard to get the money to make it a reality.

Chair Soria commented that the City has received $100,000 from a developer to be used towards the design of the skate park.

·        Stated that the Livingston Community Network carnitas dinner is scheduled for April 25, 2010. Tickets can be purchased at WestAmerica Bank, Livingston branch, on Main Street. All the money goes toward scholarships for the elementary schools, middle school, and high school.


No comments


No comments


·        Expressed concern about the view of the high school’s open parking lot located right next to Memorial Park. It has a lot of junk and it looks very ugly. It has a chain link fence and you can see right through it. She wonders why the high school does not put up boards in there to cover all that mess. She would like staff to talk to someone at the high school and encourage them to do something about it. It’s a real eyesore and it ruins the whole picture of the school.

Director Kenney noted that the high school is working on upgrading both the north and south side of Peach Avenue. She added that she had an upcoming phone call with their Planner Michael Belluomini and she would bring it up to his attention.


·        Mentioned that you can also see right through the chain link fence where the high school keeps their FFA animals next to the Memorial Park picnic area.

City Staff

Community Development Director Kenney

·        Invited folks to attend the Relay for Life event on Saturday, April 17, 2010. The Rotary Club will be there in the morning to provide breakfast bags for all the participants. There will be booths and festivities all day long. On Sunday morning, the Lyons Club will provide breakfast for the walkers and the participants. There will be a lot of folks out there sharing the community spirit and trying to raise money for cancer.

Administrative Assistant Arredondo

·        Congratulated and welcomed the new Planning Commissioners and said she is looking forward to working with them.

Assistant City Attorney Massey

·        Congratulated the new Planning Commissioners.


The regular meeting was adjourned by consensus at 7:42 p.m.

APPROVED:  May 11, 2010

______________________________                 _______________________________

Chair, ROY SORIA                                              Secretary of the Planning Commission,

                                                                   DONNA M. KENNEY


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